Culture

Day in Downtown LA

I’ve hung out in Downtown LA many times before. There’s so much history, art, culture, and food that I always find something new. Even if I don’t find something new, the old is still good.

What I like the most about going to DTLA aside from the challenges of finding parking and the busy one way streets is going there with my friends. Especially if it’s their first time exploring the area, I love showing them the beauty of DTLA.

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BeeJay, Peter, and I hung out in DTLA before it got too crowded on a Saturday afternoon. We made our first stop at Grand Central Market for brunch. I’ve shared about Grand Central Market on my blog here before. Last time I was here, my friend and I ate at Anna Maria’s. This time we ate at Tacos Tumbras a Tomas. It’s another good spot for Mexican food. On Yelp it has 4.5 stars with more than 650 reviews.

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They were quick to make our food fresh and delicious. We all got something different but I got scrambled eggs with chorizo and a large side of hash brown and tortilla. They gave me so much that I needed help finishing it!

After our hearty Mexican brunch, we had to walk it off. We walked over to The Bradbury Building. This place never gets old. Every time I walk into this place, I’m still amazed by its architecture and I think about the happy ending from the movie 500 Days of Summer. Well, it’s a happy ending depending on how you take it.

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Then we walked a block behind The Bradbury Building and went to The Last Bookstore. We walked through the maze of bookshelves and luckily, we didn’t lose each other!

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The last time I came here, I somehow missed the records section!

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There were so many vinyls with deep history rooted in them. These are music the older generation like our parents or grandparents grew up with. It was these music that set the mood in their living room or set the tone of their generation.

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I love how The Last Bookstore is able to maximize their space with artworks on the wall and broken clocks as planters.

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Even though we made a few stops in DTLA, we actually walked around a lot and got hungry again! To beat the traffic, we drove back down to Orange County and we went over to Hamji Park in Buena Park. They’re known for pork ribs, pork soup, and pork everything.

I’m sad to share with you that on Yelp it only has 3.5 stars with 132 reviews. They are still relatively a new restaurant in the Orange County area so I’m sure people are still learning about the restaurant.

But! In K-town (in LA), they have 4 stars with more than 1100 reviews on Yelp. So you know it’s good. I think the reason why the OC location has a lower rating is because they’re simply new.

Actually that might not be the only reason. My mom has this Korean theory that within the first three months from when a Korean restaurant opens, the service and food are great. They want to prove to the world that they’re awesome which they tend to live up to for at least three months. But! After those three months of the honeymoon stage pass by, my mom believes that the service and food go downhill from there.

I hope this isn’t true for Hamji Park at the OC location because the food has actually been really great for the past five times I have gone.

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I still enjoyed what we got that day after a long day in DTLA! We all shared the ribs and the pork stew with potatoes. It hit the SPOT especially since we were pretty hungry. Look how beautiful the food looks!

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Ok, one thing I do want to share is that I was actually surprised how the food came out pretty quickly. We ate an odd hour like 4 in the afternoon. There were only a few groups there. So I get it, they weren’t busy and so they poured out their heart and soul to make only our food. But!  It just made me think that this was all prepped beforehand and they just reheated the food.

But why was this still so good? I don’t know. Let’s not think about this too much because I do love their food.

Anyway, we ended up leaving Hamji Park with leftovers and feeling happy with a full stomach!

Thanks Peter for driving us around! I’m glad we didn’t get lost on our way to DTLA and back home to OC! Sorry Peter & BeeJay that I left my my DSLR behind that day. Thank you for understanding.

 

 

 

 

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Grand Central Market – Ana Maria’s

When you are in LA, you have to eat something there. You just have to! When I was there, I initially wanted to try EGGSLUT but the line was long and I was hungry! I was not so willing to eat there because of the wait. According to some friends who have been there before, they said that the line may look horrendous but apparently it goes by pretty quickly. Eggslut is located in Grand Central Market – Downtown LA.

Grand Central Market is in a huge warehouse kind of building with countless food vendors covering every corner imaginable. Another way to describe this place is that it’s like an indoors swap meet but for all sorts of cuisines ranging from Mexican to American to Asian food. They also have a juice stand, a fruit stand, and a little bakery. Anything you are craving for, it is certainly there!

Since Eggslut was out of the picture, I was left to pick only one amongst numerous food stands. I was pretty indecisive about where to eat so I circled around the market quite a few times. Two or three too many times. I knew I wanted Mexican food after seeing so much meat piled up but mind you that there were multiple taco stands here with the same price. I just didn’t know which one to pick specifically.

I ended up just going to the one with a decent amount of people standing in line. I went to Ana Maria’s and ordered a tostada and treated myself to a glass bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola. I rarely drink soda but I thought it would go well with my tostada and it sure did. The tostada and the drink together totaled up to $7.50. The drink was a little more expensive than expected.

I love tostadas. I remember the first time I tried one was at my friend Jessica’s house back in high school of our sophomore year. It was either a late night snack or an early breakfast where we just put beans over the tostada and sprinkled some cheese over it. It was so simple yet so perfect to munch on!

After that day, I begged my mom to get some beans, cheese, and tostadas. I tried to make it at home but it wasn’t the same for whatever reason and I had not tried one since then probably. The tostada from Ana Maria’s at Grand Central Market was a tad bit fancier compared to Jessica’s only because it had meat and some vegetables. It was basically like a burrito but on a flat taco shell. It was just the right amount to fill me up with my soda on the side.

If you’re curious about Ana Maria’s, check out their Yelp as they have plenty of positive reviews about the food and the quick quality service.Next time, I’m definitely getting Eggslut!

 

The Bradbury Building

In my head, I have an unofficial bucket list of places to check out in the LA area. The Bradbury Building has been on my list for the longest time and I finally got to experience it! If this place looks familiar, it’s because it’s been in plenty of movies. In particular, it was in my favorite indie movie, 500 Days of Summer. This building was at the end of the movie where Tom had an interview with his dream job and met Autumn.

We were only allowed to go up one flight of stairs but we weren’t able to actually walk around the floors. It wasn’t necessary to explore upstairs because the architecture from ground zero was amazing enough. The geometry of the structure and the detailed iron work on the elevator and the railings made me speechless. Once you walk into this quiet yet powerful building, you will be taken aback by its beauty.

Lewis L. Bradbury, a gold mining millionaire, wanted an extravagant building to be constructed. He hired George Wyman to be the architect of creating this $500,000 (now worth more than $11 million) masterpiece that was built in 1893. Currently, the building is the headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs and other government agencies. For more information about The Bradbury Building check out Wikipedia.

Yes, I just gave you a link to Wikipedia. It was actually pretty resourceful.

To see the building in person, go to 304 S. Broadway in Los Angeles, California. After visiting the place, treat yourself out to all kinds of food at Grand Central Market which is across the street from The Bradbury Building. Literally, they have all kinds of food in there.

Thanks Linda for being a tourist with me at The Bradbury Building. I hope you were in awe of it as much as I was.

 

Old Towne Orange

I love Old Towne Orange. Go there in the day time and you will be able to experience its decorative architecture and rich history. Go there at night, you will experience the romantic side of it. Whether you go there when the sun or moon is out, you can easily enjoy your time there to eat or even to walk around. There’s plenty of places to grab a meal from all sorts of cuisines. I recently came here with Linda to walk around and have fun taking pictures.

I used to be a rebel back in the day. I would break the rules and block doors when I wasn’t supposed to do. Just kidding!

I don’t think Linda and I were able to thoroughly walk around Old Towne Orange. You know what that means, right? We just have to come back here and be ready for another adventure! We’ll walk around, take some pictures, grab some food, take more pictures, check out some antique shops, more pictures, and then treat ourselves to some dessert. Thanks Linda for checking out Old Towne Orange with me!

Chinatown in LA

The morning I got back from Sacramento, I went to my niece’s and nephew’s birthday party without coffee. For some odd reason, I was pretty much feeling strong and awake even though I only got four or five hours of sleep. After the party, I tried to rest at home but was eager to just go out. I realized the travel bug was in me and it was real. It was so real that I had to go somewhere to explore.

With a few friends, we grabbed dinner at In-N-Out and then we were off to a spontaneous trip to LA! I’ve been wanting to check out Chinatown in LA to see the Chinese lanterns lit up and simply to explore the area since I always drive by it whenever I’m in the area.

When my friends and I got there, it was pretty dead. It was nice to have the whole town to ourselves!

Chinatown can easily be explored in less than 30 minutes but we took our time taking pictures and enjoying the bright neon lights. Next time, I’m going to have come here in the afternoon when it’s busy and have some dim sum!

Thanks Chinatown for temporarily curing my travel bug!

Since we were near Little Tokyo, we decided to grab some milk tea from one of my favorite boba shops! I got my usual Brown Sugar Milk Tea which was perfect as always!

We hung out at Ozero for a little bit before heading out to our last adventure!

The Capitol

I finally got to see the White House! I mean, the White House in California! In other words, the Capitol! Briana and I probably had the time of our lives taking pictures with a selfie stick in front of the Capitol. I don’t know what it is but selfie sticks are fun!

Alex and Justin joined us a little later for the fun with the selfie stick!

We look like a happy family there, right? Right! After taking millions of selfies together, we finally decided to go check the Capitol building!

During the security check, they thought the selfie stick was a weapon! We almost had to leave Briana behind. Just kidding, we wouldn’t have left her alone. Luckily, the security guards knew what a selfie stick was so Briana was good to go.

We walked around for a good hour in the building. There was so much rich history and beauty to the building that I felt like we could stay there forever. Unfortunately, our parking meter didn’t allow us to stay there that long. For the short time we had, we saw a good chunk of the Capitol.

We explored outside to see the garden but we had a hard time finding it. So here are some pictures of trees:

I would love to come back here and spend more time in the museum and just soak in more of its history. It was a little surreal to be at the Capitol because you grow up learning all this stuff from textbooks. Thanks Briana for making this trip to the Capitol possible! Thanks Alex and Justin for hanging out with us for a short period of time!

Art is Everywhere

I truly believe that wherever you look, there is something worth taking a picture of. You might think your everyday life looks mundane but if you try to look at life with an artistic perspective, you might see something different. When Alex and I were waiting to meet up with his friend, Justin, we decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood for a few minutes and take some fun pictures!

I wish I could have taken more pictures while we were waiting! One thing I’ve learned from traveling is that you should try to have the mentality of, “There won’t be next time.” So if you see something that is picture worthy, just go for it! Don’t tell yourself, “I’ll do it next time!” Trust me, you will forget and you will most likely not have that opportunity again to take a picture of it. It’s happened to me way too many times. Don’t let it happen to you.

Nike.